Basil the Great on Materialistic Atheism (On the Hexameron 1.2)

 Genesis 1.1: In the beginning God created the heavens and earth

I stop here, struck with admiration at this thought. What shall I myself say first about it? Where shall I begin my story? Shall I demonstrate the vacuity of the pagans? Shall I exalt the truth of our faith? The philosophers of Greece have made a great fuss over explaining “nature,” but not one of their systems has remained firm and unassailed, each one being overturned by its successor. It is a waste of time to refute them; they are sufficient in themselves to destroy one another. Those who were too ignorant to rise to a knowledge of God could not allow that an intelligent cause presided at the birth of the universe. It was the primary error that involved them in lamentable consequences. Some had recourse to material principles and attributed the origin of the universe to the elements of the world. Others imagined that atoms, and indivisible bodies, molecules, and channels, combined in union so as to form the nature of the visible world. Atoms reuniting or separating produced births and deaths, and the most durable bodies only owe their consistency to the strength of their mutual adhesion. It was a veritable spider’s web woven by these writers who give to heaven, to earth and sea, so weak an origin and so minimal a consistency! And this was all because they did not know how to say “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Led astray by their inherent atheism, it appeared to them that nothing governed or ruled the universe, and instead all was random chance. But, to guard us against this error the writer on the creation, from the very first words, enlightens our understanding with the name of God: “In the beginning God created.” What a glorious order! He first establishes a beginning, so that it might not be supposed that the world never had a beginning. Then be adds created to show that which was made was a very a small part of the power of the Creator.

John Anthony McGuckin. The Path of Christianity: The First Thousand Years (Kindle Locations 23236-23249). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.

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